codereview from the POV of a noob

by Álex 2013-01-29 19:16 dev codereview python

Hi g(irl|uy)s! I would like to start with a disclaimer:

I am not (and I don’t pretend to be) a craftmanship trooper (they like to be called like that isn’t?), senior engineer with more years of experience that the technology has, guru, blablabla…

I just want to show my opinion about this process (which I really like!). But more important that share my opinion, is to know what is yours, so, please, comment!

Today we had an interesting conversation at work about how we make and how we should make our codereviews. My point of view is that there are three different things to check:

  1. Code syntax. It’s a part that should be 100% automagically done. I usually work with python and I let this work to Flake8 on vim, but it’s always good to have a git hook.
  2. Reusability and maintainability. I am afraid that this is the worst part to check, it’s a manual process and it is really subjective. Some people can think that use itertools with 2 lambda functions is pretty clear and comprehensible, other people can think that this code is the result of a dirty mind developer.
  3. Functionality. Automated test! All the test that you can, and of course, they worst the time that you will spent developing them. There are things that can not be easily tested but in that case let’s suppose that you were clever enough to test them manually and in the case that is possible you can show it to anybody else (this really helps!).

As I said the point 1 can be (and should be) automated! It’s really easy to do, the same way that Flake8 exists for python, I am pretty sure that you will have one for your favourite language. It’s really painful get back a pull request just for some spaces that are not in place.

For the point 3, yep, let me jump the second for now. Unit testing, integration testing, functional testing… whatever you want, but try to automate it. This + a CI server will make your live really “easy”!

And finally, about the second point. Each developer have their way to do the things, but usually there are some points that can be fixed and sometimes because we don’t know, other times just because we are lazy but we post code like this:

def f(a, b, c):
    if (a < 1 and
        request.user and
        request.user.is_authenticated() and request.user.has_perm('write')
        return HttpResponse(json.dumps('{authorized: True, 'a': a}))
    if a >= 1
        return HttpResponse(json.dumps('{authorized: True, 'a': a}))

This is just an example, but you should agree with me that it’s really easy to improve. This is what, in my opinion should be more checked in the reviews.

This was just an example (please, remember that :D), but could be improved with something like this:

def proper_function_name(proper_variable_name):
    """This is an amazing function that will do just a thing.

    :param proper_variable_name: what I am?

    :returns: An HttpResponse object with the following JSON content:

        {'authorized': bool,
         'proper_variable_name: int}

    is_authorized = (
        request.user and
        request.user.is_authenticated() and

    return HttpResponse(
            'authorized': is_authorized,
            'proper_variable_name': proper_variable_name

Those were the improvements (again, remember that it’s just an example):

  1. Give a proper name to the function. Don’t be afraid, everybody has autocompletion! :D
  2. Give a proper name to the vars.
  3. DOCUMENT! In this example, ready for Sphinx.
  4. Simplify the if statements, actually, after take a look you made it dissapear.
  5. One return.

So, what’s your opinion? What do you think that is more important in a codereview.


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